I promised Karan I would try to explain why I decided to write Chicklit. But first of all, I would query the exact meaning of the word, Chicklit. This implies, if you ignore the fact that is sounds rather like something that little birds poop in, that there is a type of book that appeals exclusively to women. This may be true, but I would suggest that the women-only section of what is loosely called Chicklit is relatively small. It is my contention that most books can be read and enjoyed by either sex. And if they can be read by either sex, surely they can be written by either sex.
Now, without in any way attempting to place myself up there alongside the bard, we mustn’t forget that some of the world’s greatest love stories were written by men. Romeo and Juliet takes an awful lot of beating and if Romcom’s your thing, there’s always a Midsummer Night’s Dream. You can’t beat Doctor Zhivago, Madame Bovary, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin… the list is endless. And, by the way, can anybody tell me the name of the writers of arguably the greatest love story of the silver screen, Casablanca? Fittingly for the purposes of this post, they were a man and a woman. Answer at the bottom of this piece.
Anyway, returning to me, just why did I decide to write When Alice Met Danny, a book that is, to my surprise, currently sitting quite high up in the Romantic Comedy charts? My previous two books are not so clear cut. For example, my second book, The Room on the Second Floor, has romance (there are two engagements and a wedding in it after all). It has intrigue, if that’s the right word for trying to set up a brothel in your best friend’s house without telling him. It has murder mystery with various attempted murders and a few dead bodies. I freely acknowledge that it’s a bit of a mishmash and, as such, it has confused not only the marketing department of my publishers, Carina UK, but also the Amazon search engines.
Now I am nothing if not a pragmatist. I realised a few months ago that this was a problem that needed to be fixed. So all this is a rather long-winded way of explaining why I sat down and wrote a romance. When Alice Met Danny is unmistakably a romance, indeed, even more precisely, it’s a romantic comedy. The marketing team at the publishers and the search engines at Amazon and all the other retailers know where to stack it, how to promote it and, most importantly, the readers know where to find it. And, just to put the icing on the cake, the brilliant Carina cover designers knew exactly what their brief was. And the result of their efforts just screams Romance.
Romance can of course describe anything from implausibly muscled young men tearing off their shirts and leaping upon willing young damsels, to Georgian ladies flushing as they peek out through their lace curtains at the stable boy. It ranges from full-on raunchy sex to chaste, hesitant infatuation. In the case of When Alice Met Danny, it is something a little different. I tell people the book is, ‘Romance for real people’. What I mean by that is that Alice’s story is far closer to real life. Few of us have ever experienced raw, unbridled passion. Maybe we wish we had, but I stand by my conten
tion that for most of us, love is a gentler, more hesitant, maybe even unexpected event. It certainly is for Alice.
For what it’s worth, I have had reports back from a few men now who have read and enjoyed the book. I tell you what. Once you’ve read it, try passing it on to your husband to read. I’d be interested to hear his verdict. And the World Cup is over now, so it’s not as if he hasn’t got time.
* Casablanca was originally written as a stage play called Everybody Comes to Rick’s by Americans Murray Burnett and Joan Alison.
Trevor, thank you so much for writing a piece for me! I’ll see how many of my guy friends I can convince to read When Alice Met Danny! Watch for my review of When Alice Met Danny this evening! ~ Karan